Readers of the world, stamp your feet in protest, raise your voices in loud, tempestuous clamor. You have been accused of a most severe thing, by those who pass judgment with knowing glances and somber, wise noddings of their heads. Your crime, you ask? Apathy toward demanding good writing.
Your face blanches; your heart is momentarily stilled. Or not. Perhaps a brief detour from the melodrama is warranted at this point, in the form of, well, some context. At a recent meeting of some various and sundry writers, one particularly skilled writer raised the point that in the Jewish world, writing is a notoriously under-paid profession. If this is news to you, kind reader, I apologize for possibly shattering any entrancing illusions you may have held...of multi-millionaire frum writers, cavorting in their summer homes on eight-figure salaries, occasionally deigning to pluck the keys of their computers to weave together an article or two. :-)
In the course of the conversation, one writer posited her stalwart theory--nay, flaming indictment--which I alluded to at the beginning of this post, namely that the reason why frum writers are, on a whole, woefully underpaid, is because their readers do not demand excellence. Thus, those who employ the services of these writers are not pressured to raise the bar by hiring only cream-of-the-crop, highly talented writers who could then demand top-dollar for their work. This is her theory; I present it to you, gentle reader, and await your opinion.
Is this really true? Is the public willing to acquiesce to whatever comes their way rather than demand what it truly deserves? And do you think this has any connection whatsoever to the compensation of frum writers?
I have long observed an interesting phenomenon which my Shabbos guests, who are such wonderfully giving people, further drove home for me yesterday. I have seen fantastically wealthy people who dole out dollar-store gifts with all the joy of suffering a root canal. And then there are those people with very little money in the bank who are just so generous, they're falling all over themselves giving to others.
About Riva Pomerantz
I'm a freelance writer, widely published in several magazines including the internationally-distributed Ami Magazine and Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly. Riva's work also appears on the award-winning website www.aish.com, amongst others. You can buy my books here.